The Public Theater Announces Completion of Going Public Capital Campaign

The Public Theater (Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham) announced today that it has successfully completed its Going Public Capital Campaign by raising $42 million. The landmark institution has also received generous major gifts in support of its newly revitalized downtown home at Astor Place, resulting in several named spaces. Fundraising continues throughout the year for community-based Public Theater programming, including Shakespeare in the Park, Mobile Shakespeare Unit, Public Works, and the Writers' Initiative.

The Library at The Public Theater, the intimate room that serves as the home for the acclaimed restaurant, has been named The Whitton-Spector Library in honor of Board Chair Warren Spector and his wife Margaret Whitton whose $1 million gift served as the first leadership commitment of the campaign. Spector joined The Public Theater Board in 2000 and was instrumental in the completion of the Going Public Capital Campaign.

The Public Theater box office, now positioned prominently in the center of the renovated lobby, has been named the Taub Box Office in appreciation of a $1 million gift toward the capital campaign from The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. Henry Taub joined The Public Theater Board in 1978 and was named an Honorary Board Member in 1996. Thirty five years later, the family is still represented on the Board, currently by Henry's son, Steven Taub, who has been serving as a Trustee since 1997.

A popular addition to The Public's renovation is the new mezzanine overlooking the lobby that is open to the public and is available as a resource to the community as well as a meeting space for artists and audiences. This area will now be called the Levin Mezzanine, named in honor of The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation who generously donated $1 million to help ensure that The Public Theater remains a focal point of the city's cultural landscape and community.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, long-time funder and friend of The Public Theater, gave a $1 million grant to support the revitalization of the historic building. In addition, they contributed significant funding to support The Public's rededication events last fall and ongoing institutional branding. The Trust, and The Public's former Chairman LuEsther T. Mertz, have provided leadership support to the organization since The Public Theater first opened its doors in its downtown home.

"We are immensely grateful to our community, whose gifts, large and small, have made this revitalization possible," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The philanthropic support of individuals and foundations represents one of the great achievements of American democracy: the consistent understanding that private wealth has the most impact when redirected to public purposes."

"This is an important time in The Public's history as we successfully conclude our capital campaign and establish ourselves as a center for culture, arts and ideas in our newly renovated home at Astor Place," said Executive Director Patrick Willingham. "We have been extremely fortunate to have received so many generous gifts that have been vital to our continued growth and will be instrumental as we rededicate ourselves to our mission and goals and begin to plan for the next 50 years."

The Going Public Capital Campaign was funded through a public-private partnership. Individuals, foundations, corporations, as well as state and local government all contributed to the project that raised $42 million, including an initial $28.5 million provided by the City of New York through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Council and the Manhattan Borough President.

"Starting with Joe Papp's free Shakespeare performances in East River Park more than a half century ago, The Public Theater has played a remarkable role in New York's cultural life," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. "The City is pleased to have joined these generous private partners in insuring that The Public can present exciting work in its beautifully renovated home on Astor Place for generations to come."

Other significant gifts in support of The Public's revitalization and ongoing mission-based programming include a $2 million grant fromthe Ford Foundation which included renaming the lobby the "Ford Foundation Lobby;" a $1 million gift from Meryl Streep in honor of Nora Ephron and Joseph Papp; $4 million from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust to support free Shakespeare in the Park and The Public Theater's downtown home at Astor Place; a $750,000 gift from the Susan Stein Shiva Foundation in honor of the long history the Shiva family has with The Public Theater, beginning with Susan Stein Shiva who was one of the founding members of the Board of Trustees; and the successful completion of a $1 million Challenge Grant from The Kresge Foundation wherein The Public raised private funds to match the generous gift.

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